Heather Luby is really nothing more than a girl from the Ozark Mountains that grew up with dreams of writing stories. Her work has appeared in Word Riot, LITnIMAGE, Bartleby Snopes, Halfway Down the Stairs, Travel by the Books, and Annotation Nation. She is the Managing Editor of The Citron Review and a Creative Writing Instructor with St. Louis Community College. Heather has an MFA from Antioch University Los Angeles and her novel Laws of Motion is represented by Bill Contardi of Brandt and Hochman Literary Agents. When not conversing with the characters of her imagination, she can found wrangling two willful and beautiful daughters around the suburbs of St. Louis, MO.
Heather, the beginning chapters of Laws in Motion really set the stage for Tom’s hitherto unknown discoveries later in the novel. While the novel is a literary one, it includes plot elements of a mystery thriller. During your work on the book, did you turn to any novels of genre for guidance? If so, were any influential in affecting your writing style?
I always turn to other writers and works that I admire for guidance when I ‘m writing. One of my mentors in graduate school, the writer Leonard Chang, gave me a piece of advice that has been the cornerstone of this novel and that was to “always read work that informs your writing.” In my case, there were a handful of highly influential books. Reservation Road and Northwest Corner, both by John Burhnam Swartz. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion, I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb and The Sportswriter by Richard Ford. None of these books have a real mystery or thriller component, but each one contributed in the development of my novel in some specific way. The works by Schwartz are probably the closest in that they deal with violent death and some criminal actions. However, I mostly read to inform myself on grief and the male experience, assuming that if I could get into Tom’s head, and write him authentically, the rest would take care of itself.